You've heard that saying–God works in mysterious ways?
I'm going to go with the idea that today was a message from God and not just another unbelievable day.
I was contemplating my career, such as it is, and wondering if I should/could revamp the roles. But who do I drop? Which family do I leave hanging? I know how hard it is to get any childcare, let alone good childcare in this town. My instinct is to drop all my evening and weekend kids of course, but I feel terribly guilty, too.
So A.P. calls me. She generally brings her kids at four or five in the afternoon, and they leave somewhere between nine pm and three am. I know, great schedule. She's jerked me around before, and I just gritted my teeth. Called to say she'd be off early so I wouldn't put the kids to bed, and then not showed up until after 11pm. Etc. So anyway. She called today, and asked if the kids could come in early–right before lunch. Okay.
So they come half hour before lunch, and she says she'll be off at about seven or eight. At seven she calls and wants to talk to the kids. I ask if she decided to work late. Oh, no, she says. I'll be off soon. She tells the kids this, too. So they expect her at any minute; they think she's actually on her way. They are sitting at the window, watching. It is now ten thirty. My own kids have been kept up, because I think she's bound to come any minute, and I don't want to interupt bedtime stories/prayers/etc when she comes in. I'm exhausted–could have put these two to bed at seven, and gone to sleep myself, but at this point, what do I do. Surely she's REALLY on her way now.
How many nights has she pulled this on me? Dozens. I know better. Just last week, she brought them two hours early, at three pm, then called me at 8pm to say she'd be late, her friend's mother died, and she has nobody else to sit up with her, so fine, I say I'll watch them. I put them to bed, happy to at least know that she isn't on her way any time soon, so I can go to bed(floor). At seven the next morning she calls all in a panic. "OH NO! I fell asleep, I'll be right there." Comes in the door an hour later, picks up her kids, and on the way out the door says, oh, I have to be at work in fortyfive minutes. Takes her kids home, bathes them, presumably, then brings them back, saying she'll be off early. Comes back six hours later, wakes her kids up from their nap to tell them that she has to go right back to work, but their Dad is going to come pick them up and take them for the weekend. They are howling with frustration at this point. I feel like howling. Note that the next day is the first of a three day holiday–my first in almost a year. So she takes off again (she has two jobs, and often picks the kids up from one day care and drops them off at mine on her thirty minutes between jobs) to the next job, and the kids wait. Dad's supposed to come at five. Five thirty? Six? I call her at eight thirty–the kids have been at my house now for almost thirty hours except for the forty minute "bath" and ask her when he's coming. She makes a call, and another babysitter comes to get them. Their Dad's girlfriend, or something.
I have to be up and ready to be chipper with parents and children at five oclock in the morning. Which I could do–just fine–if she hadn't lied to me. Why call at all? Why call and say you're not going to be working late? Why call and talk to your kids if you are on your way–she knew when she called that she wasn't coming or she wouldn't have wanted to talk to them. I said, to my own kids, when she called, I said, so, who wants to make a bet that she doesn't show up until midnight. And STILL. I didn't put them to bed after the phone call. And if she shows up any time soon, I'll still feel guilty that they are asleep. I will. If she drove up right now, I'd nudge them awake, because they are just now drifting off. Maybe she won't notice that I put them to bed. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
ANYWAY. Vented that.
What I meant to say was, you know, I think this is an answer from the Gods. I don't have to let people treat me this way. These are the first kids that are going to go. Them and another family just like them.
I'm sure she'll have a great story to tell when she gets here, but I guarantee that she won't make a peep about the fact that she is late. If she didn't owe me so much money, I think I'd fire her tonight. Go ahead, roll your eyes. But if I cut her off now, I'm not getting a dime of what she owes. I know that. I also know she could make my life a living hell with CPS if she got mad. I know how well she lies, and I know she loves a lawsuit. So I know I have to be careful–I have to just say, as of a certain date, I'm no longer open nights or weekends, and treat her jolly nice and act like I'll miss her.
Of course, I'll feel bad if it turns out that she's been in a wreck, or her ex lived up to his threats. What if she never came back, then what?
You know what bothers me most about this business? I'm getting cold and hard and cynical. I am. I don't believe anything you tell me. I'll act like it–I won't put your kids to bed because you said you are on your way–but in my heart, I don't believe anything anyone says anymore. I call government agencies and brace myself to deal with hours of stupidity. Cynic. Me. A cynic. Who'd have thunk?